I’ve long thought that George H.W. Bush might have been the most qualified man ever to hold the office of president of the United States.
His resume is sparkling: World War II fighter pilot, business executive, envoy to the United Nations and China, head of the CIA, Republican Party chairman, congressman, vice president.
Now, in the twilight of a long and glorious life, he has chosen to speak out on matters of which he knows plenty. He has offered stinging critiques of former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for the way they advised President George W. Bush — Bush 41’s eldest child — on how they conducted foreign policy.
Bush 41 has been chided in return by Rumsfeld, who said the 91-year-old former president “is getting up there in years.” Hmm. Well, Rumsfeld ain’t exactly a spring chicken himself, at 83.
But my point here, I suppose, is that a man with President Bush’s distinguished public service career deserves to be heard and not dismissed as someone just getting a little long in the tooth.
He is in frail health these days, suffering from a form of Parkinson’s disease. He was interviewed over the course of nine years by author Jon Meachem, whose new biography on the former president is about to be published. From all that I’ve heard about President Bush, his mind is still sharp and he can articulate cogent and thoughtful commentary on issues of the day.
He referred to Cheney and Rumsfeld as being “iron-ass” about foreign policy. True, the nation was struck hard and hurt badly by the 9/11 attacks, but Bush 41 insists that Cheney became someone he didn’t recognize from the time the then-vice president served as defense secretary in 41’s administration.
History is still being written on the presidencies of both men named Bush. I look at George H.W. Bush view of his son’s time in the White House as one more important puzzle piece that eventually will complete the picture.
The former president’s thoughts shouldn’t be dismissed.